7,000 pound cupcake details - interview with GourmetGiftBaskets.com CEO Ryan Abood

On Monday, I spoke with Ryan Abood, the CEO of GourmetGiftBaskets.com, about his quest for the Guinness Book of World Records record for the world's largest cupcake, a 7,000 pound cupcake to be unveiled this Saturday. He's based in Manchester, New Hampshire and was on his way to Detroit, Michigan.

I learned quite about the Guinness Book of World Records and can't wait to see this truly outrageous-sounding cupcake.

This cupcake is so big that the company doing the forklift to transport it even issued a press release!

When did you get the idea for the 7,000 pound cupcake and why did you pick a cupcake to be your world record symbol?

We’ve been working on the Guinness Book of World Records that’s supposed to happen this fall for the world’s largest gift basket, so we applied several times. The first time we got denied we thought it was an issue of language, because in the UK they’re called a gift hamper.

We had to change course in terms of what we were planning on doing originally, building a large gift basket. We're a gourmet food company, so it makes sense to do something related to what we sell.

I started looking up the world’s largest cupcake, and I saw the one Duff from Ace of Cakes did and then Guinness comes back and rescinds the record because it was baked as two pieces. They pulled it from him.

Sounds like they have super strict guidelines.

You can submit a free proposal which they say takes 6 weeks but we hadn’t heard back on the gift basket one. For $1,000 they’ll give you an answer within 24 hours. After you propose, they send you the exact rules.

Why 7,000 pounds – so no one ever beats your record ever?

Conceptually, it’s an exciting project. Let’s go 300-400 pounds--that’s where we started We had a recipe we could realistically scale up and it was affordable and we found the right oven. It has to be baked in one oven at one time, which is an enormous technological challenge.

The first thing we did was find the right oven, we started doing homework about who we could partner with to rent or buy some oven time. The right oven that we found is a commercial batch oven. It’s electric and hasn’t been used, they cook the wings of aircraft. It’s a convection oven, the same process as your oven at home, 8 X 8 X 10 feet.

Then [the oven makers] said, let’s go a few thousands pounds, let’s do something big. The net thing we did was look for a baker, because we’re gift basket guys, we’re not necessarily topnotch bakers, we knew we needed a topnotch baker.

We found out about George Algarin about the Meringue Bakery cupcake which was 7 feet by 7 feet and abut 7000 pounds. It was baked in 2 separate pieces. He said took a week to make, and he just couldn’t do it again. We said, “What if we told you we’re willing to give you an enormous amount of assistance? We’re gonna bake this thing with or without you.”

As soon as he knew we had secured the oven, he said, “I’d love to do this.”

George is our head decorator and our consultant, and we have Jeff at the oven company, he’s in charge of making it and we’re shooting for somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds, but we could wind up a 10,000 pound cupcake.

You won’t know exactly until it’s done?

We’re weighing the ingredients and you’re only going to lose a certain percentage.

We bought about 17,000 eggs, which is a ton of eggs.

So we have 2,000 pounds of eggs, 2,000 pounds of sugar, 2000 pounds of flour, and 2,000 pounds of butter.

We’re already at 8,000 pounds minimum, and we have a few thousand pounds of vanilla custard coming for filling and we’re going to make our own frosting. We’ve been downplaying the number; we’d rather underpromise and overdeliver than overpromise and underdeliver.

How many people are working on this?


We’re working closely with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. If we’re gonna have a fully edible 7,000 pound cupcake that's 5 feet across and between 7 and 9 feet tall, we’ve gotta do something good with it. We’re gonna debut it at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, which is the world’s largest classic car show; between 1-2 million people attend this event.

Once we bake it, we’re going to have Guinness certify it and the public can take pictures. A donation to Susan G. Komen will give you the right to take your picture. We’ll be doing that all morning, then shortly thereafter we’ll have the Guinness judge show up and officially certify it. Around 1:00 we’ll be serving the cupcake. It should serve on the lowball 20,000 people. Were hoping we set an average asking donation of $5 apiece and that we’ll use the cupcake as a fundraiser for breast cancer research. It’ll have pink frosting with a vanilla custard filling and we’ll put a huge Susan G. Komen logo on the top of it.

How long has this been in the planning stages?

2 and a half weeks.

How does GourmetGiftBaskets.com work into this?

We have a make your own cupcake gift basket, it’s got all the ingredients to make the Barefoot Contessa’s cupcakes.

We have other lines that we have seasonally. A lot of our products we make for a season and then we retire it. For Mother’s Day for the last 2 years we had cupcakes, and Christmas.

Why do you think cupcakes are so popular?

I think it’s got a lot to do with the economy. They’re historically an affordable indulgence. All things come and go and it just so happens to be that cupcakes have been white hot. From your corner deli selling more cupcakes now than ever to an unbelievable ecosystem of artists and cupcakes.

What does it symbolize for you?

What it symbolizes for us is that a world record is something that should be ubiquitously impressive. Anyone that looks at a world record anything should say, “Wow.” When you look at the current world record cupcake, it’s a crumb of what should be a world record. We’re rescuing the cupcake. A 151-pound cupcake? Go look at the world’s largest pizza or world’s largest wine bottle -- they’re always impressive. This is a category that’s begging for someone to do something really cool and memorable and I think a 7,000 pound cupcake that ‘s 7 to 9 feet tall is exactly what the cupcake record needs. That’s what it means to me.

What is your specific role??

I’m a spokesperson. This is getting unbelievable amounts of international press. Anybody who looked at that had to think, “That’s the best we can do for a world record?” It erupted for them. This is the total next level. We have to truck it in special. We hired a personal videographer and a personal photographer, they’ll be taking all of our pictures for us.

It should be in excess of 11 million calories.

You can follow along with the progress on the GourmetGiftBaskets.com site. A sampling:

GourmetGiftBaskets.com has secured four 140 quart mixers for mixing the cupcake batter and frosting for the World’s Largest Cupcake. Translated, each of these 1200 pound mixers can create 35 gallons of batter or icing at the same time! Our recipe is calling for almost 24 hours of mixing from these super-duty machines! Once complete, the batches of batter will be stored in a supersized refrigerator to await the mold and oven.

You can also follow Ryan Abood on Twitter (@RyanAbood). Here's his latest:

And you can donate to Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure via GourmetGiftBaskets.com or directly at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure site.

Here's their first video of the making of the cupcake:


Rachel, nothing against you guys (I love this blog), but I think a huge cupcake is so stupid. It's not cute anymore and how is it a cupcake and not just a cake?